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Red Tailed Hawk...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BobB, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. BobB

    BobB Hatching

    Nov 7, 2016
    I've had a year with 3 chickens and have an enclosed garden with the coop and small run inside. I have been opening it and letting them run around a pretty large garden for awhile. I think since it's got a little cold in MD the hawks are finally getting desperate enough.

    I looked outside and saw feathers flying... unfortunately I don't have a gun, but I ran out with a samurai sword and I found a immature red tailed hawk eating the neck my poor chicken.. he stayed on it til I was about 5 feet away. I didn't identify the bird until I had secured my other 2 chickens and went back inside.

    Anyway I found out it was an endangered species and luckily my other two hid in an old coop and in a corner of the garden.

    The hawk watched from afar on a branch across the street as I cleaned up my chickens body into a trash bag. I did manage to get the other chickens back in the coop and closed the run and they are fine now.

    Being as late as it is near winter I know I can't get another chicken that will survive the MD winters. I'm just glad their are still 2 left. Now that the hawk knows there is food here, I'm really sad they can't run around and forage in my garden.

    What can I do?

    1. Shoot the hawk with an air rifle from my neighbor (is that legal? I was told if it's eating your livestock you can?) I'm seeing him daily since a few days ago.
    2. Leave them in the coop 24/7 with the run and just deal with my new visitor? (They look sad and I feel like they pacing around and looking for the other chicken or just want to get out like they were usually allowed to be)
    3. Add some nets over the top of the area so they can run free?

    Follow up questions:
    How hard would it be to introduce a new chicken in the spring? and/or with a rooster to help protect (don't know how my neighbors will feel about the noise)?

    I've heard about hanging CD's around the fence, but the aerial cover is more what I'm concerned about.

    I also have a family of cardinals that have been living in my trees for years and I love having them around in the winter, what can I do that won't scare these birds away?

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    #1, It is illegal to kill, trap or harass hawks and other birds of prey without a federal permit.

    With only 2 or 3 birds, it should be easy to cover their run.

    It is always difficult to add a single bird to an existing flock.
    A rooster is very helpful for protecting hens from daytime predators but choose the breed of cock carefully.
    Mediterranean breeds are good for that. Alert and agile.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! A covered run and safe coop are essential to keep your birds safe. Your hawk will move on if she can't get to the chickens, and that's how we all manage things for our birds. All raptors are federally protected in the USA, with major consequences for messing with them. Chickens are loved by every predator out there, and over time every predator will show up! Plan to get more than one new bird at a time, because it's much easier to blend them into your remaining pair. Mary
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Today, I heard my resident crows set up a raucous racket in the air just to the north of where my chickens usually free range. incidentally, they weren't outside today because they're spoiled wimps when it's the least windy and cold. I looked up and saw exactly what I expected to see - a red tail hawk being intercepted and attacked from four sides by the crows. The hawk finally escaped by doing a steep dive down and away from its tormentors. It won't be back for a while.

    Several years ago, I had a lovely Buff Brahma pullet killed by a red tail hawk. I was shoveling snow while my chickens free-ranged. It was New Year's day. I heard hysterical commotion from my rooster and the other hens, and when I got to the coop, the red tail hawk was sitting on a stack of logs not three feet from his dead victim. It languidly lifted off and flew away when it saw me.

    Since then, I try to be around close-by when my chickens are out, but it hasn't stopped attempted attacks by hawks, sometimes a mere few feet away from me. Luckily, I've lost no more chickens to hawks, but I know the danger is always present. I have a covered run, and the chickens are very quick to spot danger coming at them from the sky, and they run like mad into the run.

    The crows and sometimes ravens are a frequent presence around my place because I trap rats and mice regularly and throw the dead offerings out into the meadow for them to eat. If you have crows, it's wise to cultivate their presence when you have chickens. They are extremely territorial and will drive away hawks when they come around. The chickens quickly learn that the crows mean them no harm.

    Another thing to do is to create cover for your chickens to scurry underneath. These can be trees and shrubs, and even little, low "ramadas" where a hawk can't get to a chicken. In places where chicken free range in large treeless open areas, these low structures, resembling low tables with four open sides, are crucial for survival where there are hawks. They have them on chicken ranches in New Zealand.

    These measure won't guarantee 100% safety, but they will increase your chickens' odds for surviving hawks attacking.
  5. BobB

    BobB Hatching

    Nov 7, 2016
    If I have a 40x15 foot garden with wooden posts and a 5 ft fence around it... what would be the best thing to run overtop of the garden to still allow sunlight for the plants?
  6. Personally, and I have no interest in opinions, do what ya gotta do and keep your mouth shut about it.
  7. BobB for hawks? Deer netting

  8. Bobb disregard. Misunderstood. Simple bird netting would be fine
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    The deer netting idea is relatively cheap and easy to do. In my experience it does not even need to be hawk-tight to be effective. Putting it above perimeter of run seems to work. I originally used it for keeping out owls which does very well but hawks did not like messing around the stuff. Only exception has be Coopers Hawks that will land on it but they do seem able to catch anything around it.

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